|Look at that crumb!|
For this cake, I decided to make almond paste from scratch, using Joe Pastry’s recipe. I made a little over 6oz of almond paste in less than 30 minutes from start to finish.
It’s very tasty and it also beats paying $7 at the store for the same amount of almond paste. I only needed 2oz for the cake so now I have enough to make this cake 2 more times. Yay! Rose says that leftover almond paste freezes very well, so that's exactly what I did.
To make almond cream, you mix almond paste, sugar, an egg, some butter and a little flour in the food processor. Refrigerate it while you make the cake batter.
The butter + sour cream based batter came together quickly. I actually prepared the batter at home and then took it over to my friend’s house (note: she had preheated her oven for me and only lives 1 mile from my house). I put the almond cream in a ziploc bag and cut off a tip to make a quick "piping bag".
After you scrape the batter into the cake pan, you make a depression in the middle of the cake and spoon the almond cream in the depression. Or in my case, quickly squirt the almond cream into the depression and voila! Layer the sliced pears on top and cover the pears with a little more batter.
I took it out of the oven after 55 minutes. It was beautifully golden brown and delicious.
After sitting on the deck to cool for about 10 minutes, I gently unmolded the cake, with my fingers (and toes) crossed, hoping that nothing got stuck to the pan (many other HCB-ers had that problem last week).
We ate the cake about 1.5 hours after it came out of the oven. Pure perfection!!! The crust is still crunchy and the inside is soft, buttery, and just melts in your mouth. Everybody loved it.
- We ate the cake at my friends where everybody raved about the cake. Hubby rated it an 8.5 out of 10. His only minor complaint was that the cake was a tiny bit crumbly. Most butter cakes are a bit crumbly so I don't think that's an issue.
- The almond flavor was a bit subtle for my husband (as well as my friend's husband). That's my fault because I skipped the addition of almond extract to the almond paste (using vanilla extract instead).
- This cake is definitely one of my new favorites in the book and will be made again. For a relatively simple cake, it has many layers of flavor and textures which I found intriguing: the soft and tender crumb of the cake, the moistness of the pears, and the smoothness and creaminess of the almond cream. All this is encapsulated within a beautiful golden brown and crispy crust. In short: every bite is a little party in my mouth.
- Changes: not many this time. I only skipped adding lemon juice to the pear slices because I cut up the pear shortly before I added it to the cake.